BBC axes The Review Show

This Sunday sees the last edition of The Review Show, ending a longstanding BBCTV arts strand. Already shunted from its weekly Friday spot on BBC2 to a monthly graveyard shift on BBC4, even that has proven too much for the philistines at the top who have decided to axe it. All those ginormous management salaries in return from destroying our common cultural experience. Well done.

The Review Show was a must-watch for sharp informed cultural debate anchored by Kirsty Walk and her regulars: Germaine Greer, Tom Paulin, Tony Parsons, Paul Morley and Mark Kermode. Alison Pearson may be an unpleasant right-wing idiot but her flaws could be absorbed by her panel peers.

Before that, its forerunner, The Late Review, was a nightly event on BBC2 from 1994, presented by Tracy McCloud.

We used to have Arena, The Old Grey Whistle Test, Top of the Pops (pre-scandal), Melvyn Bragg, and Newsnight Review down from its weekly slot.

Now BBC2’s The Culture Show and Later With Jools are the last men standing. Jools Holland is increasingly looking like a fish caught in a tiny pool as the tide goes out.

What happened to regular doses of animation, dance, silent movies, international cinema, movie greats, Play for Today and all the other cultural coverage that was woven into the fabric of the media reflecting our rich and illustrious arts mix? You used to be able to get a solid education in the arts just from watching the BBC. Now it’s wall-to-wall Simon Cowellesque copies and business shills.

The BBC promises better arts coverage just as they drop their arts show. I guess there’s not enough room for reality shows, soaps and ghastly “talent” contests harking back to They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? Make us stupid, why dontcha? Capitalism demands it and the men and women running the media are serving it up with a spoon.

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